Macbeth (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 23, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Director Justin Kurzel’s 2015 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is wonderfully done. Superb acting, fantastic costume design and cinematography, “Macbeth” (2015) is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2015 Studio Canal. All Rights Reserved.
YEAR OF FILM: 2015
DURATION: 113 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment
RATED: R (Strong Violence and Brief Sexuality)
RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2016
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Based on the Play by William Shakespeare
Screenplay by Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, Todd Louiso
Produced by Ian Canning, Laura Hastings-Smith, Emile Sherman
Executive Producer: Jenny Borgars, Olivier Courson, Danny Perkins, Tess Ross, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Co-Producer: Andrew Warren
Music by Jed Kurzel
Cinematography by Adam Arkapaw
Edited by Chris Dickens
Casting by Jina Jay
Production Design by Fiona Crombie
Set Decoration by Alice Felton
Costume Design by Jacqueline Durran
Michael Fassbender as Macbeth
Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth
Paddy Considine as Banquo
Lynn Kennedy as Middle-Aged Witch
Seylan Baxter as Old Witch
Amber Rissman as Child Witch
David Thewlis as Duncan
David Hayman as Lennox
Jack Reynor as Malcolm
Brian Nickels as Thane of Cawdor
James Harkness as Angus
Ross Anderson as Rosse
Sean Harris as Macduff
Maurice Roeves as Menteith
Jack Madigan as Macbeth Child
Frank Madigan as Macbeth Child
From the producers of The King’s Speech comes the story of a fearless Scottish General, Macbeth (Academy Award© Nominee Michael Fassbender), whose ambitious wife (Academy Award © Winner Marion Cotillard*) urges him to use wicked means to gain power of the throne. A thrilling interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, Macbeth is a dramatic re-imagining of the realities of war-torn times and a tale of all-consuming passion and ambition.
One of the greatest tragedies written, William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” has received numerous adaptations.
In 2015, “Macbeth” received its latest film adaptation by director Justin Kurzel (“The Snowtown Murders”, “The Turning”) and a screenplay by Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie and Todd Louiso.
The film stars Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”, “Prometheus”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “X-Men: First Class”), Marion Cotillard (“Inception”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “La Vie en Rose”), Paddy Considine (“The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Cinderella Man”, “In America”), David Thewlis (“Seven Years of Tibet”, “The Theory of Everything”, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”), DavidHayman(“Sid and Nancy”, “Trial & Retribution”, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”) and Jack Reynor (“Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “What Richard Did”, “Delivery Man”).
The film begins with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth mourning for their child and then Macbeth (loyal to King Duncan) leading soldiers (which include many children) into battle.
As Macbeth’s soldiers are victorious, Macbeth (portrayed by Michael Fassbender) and Banquo (portrayed by Paddy Considine) are approached by three witches who hail Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor and the future king.
While Macbeth is not believing the witches at first, King Duncan, after hearing of Macbeth’s victory and finding the current Thane of Cawdor as a traitor who allied with Norse invaders, has him executed. Macbeth is then bequeathed the title of “Thane of Cawdor”.
After becoming the Thane of Cawdor, he tells his wife, Lady Macbeth of the witch’s prophecies. Wanting her husband of becoming the King and knowing that King Duncan would be staying with them for the night, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth hatch a plan to make the witch’s prophecies come true by assassinating King Duncan.
As Macbeth becomes the new King of Scotland, guilt and paranoia strikes Macbeth which will lead him to a downward spiral.
“Macbeth”is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1). The picture quality is lit by natural light as closeups maintain wonderful detail, as skintones are natural, black levels are nice and deep. I didn’t notice any banding, artifacts or crush during my viewing of this film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “Macbeth” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. The film is primarily dialogue and musically driven. Dialogue is crystal clear while music utilizes the surround channels. Surround channels are utilized during the action sequences of the film.
Features English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
“Macbeth” comes with the following special features:
- The Story of Macbeth – (7:55) Director Justin Kurzel and cast discuss the making of “Macbeth”.
- Q&A with Michael Fassbender – (20:12) A post screening Q&A with actor Michael Fassbender.
“Macbeth” comes with an UltraVioletcode to watch this film digitally in HD.
Having read and watched various adaptations of “Macbeth”, I have watched this film with the mindset of a man who was driven by ego and his wife’s drive to become the King of Scotland and doing whatever is necessary to get to the top, even if it means slaughtering his own close friends but then succumbing to his own guilt which drives him mad.
But with this 2015 film adaptation by Justin Kurzel and actor Michael Fassbender told the press at the Cannes Film Festival that Macbeth would be diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) after fighting and surviving so many wars and having led many, including boys to their deaths for their King.
As I get older, when you see something off with a character, you tend to assign some sort of clinical reason to their way of being. Something that those with an open mind can see it in that way and others who despite reading some clinical reason of why someone becomes depressed or are going mad.
But is this the case of “Macbeth”? If so, then no doubt William Shakespeare has created a story that was way ahead of its time.
In modern times, we have seen soldiers suffer from PTSD after going through hell and it’s one of the tragedies of war and because it was the way of life for Macbeth and his men, moreso for the leader Macbeth, no matter how strong a man may appear, you never know what’s going through a man’s head. Many soldiers go through hallucinations and so I can see how Fassbender saw his character as suffering from PTSD and literally going mad.
But in the story of Macbeth, while he desires to be the King, he is set to the path of murder courtesy of his wife, Lady Macbeth.
But unlike other adaptations that focus on a more ruthless protagonist, director Justin Kurtzel focuses on a couple who lost their child, fears of what goes on in the battlefield continuously and in many ways, this couple is quite fragile.
The performances by both Fassbender and actress Marion Cotillard are wonderful, considering Cotillard is French and playing a Scottish woman, she did very well in playing a character that is driven to make her husband King but then seeing him consumed by guilt leading the couple to a path towards self-destruction.
But overall, this adaptation of “Macbeth” is really well done and for a film, it’s one of the more simpler, easy to follow Shakespeare-based storylines. Shot in Scotland and along with great performances comes wonderfully shot scenes and also fantastic costume design. I was quite impressed by the production value of this modern adaptation of “Macbeth” and how captivating the overall film turned out to be.
As for the Blu-ray, close-ups show magnificent detail, while dialogue is crystal clear, as with the film’s musical score. You are also treated to a “Making of Macbeth” featurette and Q&A with actor Michael Fassbender.
Overall, director Justin Kurzel’s 2015 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is wonderfully done. Superb acting, fantastic costume design and cinematography, “Macbeth” (2015) is recommended!
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